I was recently chatting with a friend about what it means to be a grownup. Does it mean having your life together? Does it mean turning 25 and finally being able to rent a car? A one-bedroom apartment (I know plenty of men children who live in one bedroom apartments)? Does it mean having 3 months of rent saved somewhere that doesn’t require a phone call to your parent’s broker? Being grown-up is a state of mind, a state of being in which external forces start to matter less and less. Being grown up means being able to make choices for yourself and having enough life experience to make more good choices than bad ones. Being grown up also means having the ability to make an extremely delicious salad and owning a few tupperware containers so that you can transport said salad to your place of stable employment.
What do you need to need to make a great salad? 3 things: great lettuce, great roasted vegetables and a great dressing.
Let us begin with lettuce. One word: Boston. That’s Baaahston lettuce. And irregardless (that’s not actually a word but people from Boston seem to think so) of your penchant for cheap green leaf lettuce, you must use Boston lettuce. Or butter lettuce, which is the same thing. Why can’t you use romaine lettuce? Because it’s too watery and the flavor is too sharp. Boston lettuce leaves are shiny, filled with delicate sweetness and politely wrap around the chunks of roasted beets.
A Grown-Up Salad
3 tablespoons really good olive oil (the kind that is so olivey that it’s spicy)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (or balsamic if you prefer)
1/2 teaspoon honey (I love this lavender one)
1 large sweet potato
4 small beets
1/4 head Boston lettuce (about 8 large leaves)
flaky salt like Maldon
Preheat your over to 375 degrees. Chop the sweet potato into inch cubes, toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and a pinch of salt. Spread the chopped potatoes and whole beets on a baking sheet and roast for 25 minutes. Remove the potatoes and set aside and continue cooking the beets for another 35 minutes (an hour total). Remove from oven to cool.
Make the dressing by whisking 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon honey and 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard in a small bowl. Add a hefty pinch of flaky salt and black pepper.
Slice the lettuce and avocado into bite-sized pieces. Peel the roasted beets with a vegetable peeler and roughly chop. Add to a bowl with lettuce, sweet potatoes, and avocado and toss with dressing.
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